First Nations Sunday

June 12, 2007 at 7:40 pm Leave a comment

 Let me get my grump out of the way first. This Sunday is Father’s Day and many worship planners use the resource called “Gathering” for service ideas and there isn’t a hint of any Father’s Day theme for June 17th. Hmpfff!! I’m just miffed that dads get the short end of the stick. Yeah I know, if you read the Observer there are hardly any guys left at church anyway. I’ll get over it.

What I would really like to promote is next Sunday, June 24th. It is First Nations Sunday. The lectionary choices are enlightened and you can glimpse native spirituality in the Christian teachings. Our native brothers and sisters could relate to the story of Elijah hearing the voice of the Lord in the stillness that followed the awesome demonstrations of nature’s (the Creator’s) power (1Kings 19: 1-15a). A foundation of native spirituality is the equality of all people and while there are leaders, no one in the Sacred Circle (of Life) is better than another. The reading from Galatians (Gal 3: 23-29) reflects this belief that we are all one in the Spirit. The gospel reading is the familiar story of Jesus driving the legion of demons out of the man in the burial caves (Luke 8:26-39). I know of no equivalent aboriginal story but natives would understand about evil spirits and the Creator’s power over them. This is all well and good as an opportunity for us to learn about aboriginal spirituality but how about using it to build a healing bridge?  Why not search out and invite some native folk to take part in the service?

We need to reach out to our native sisters and brothers so we can gain a better understanding of each other in order for the healing from past mistakes to be effective. First Nations Day is hollow if we don’t share the celebration with First Nation folk.

I would encourage worship planners to refer to “Celebrating God’s Presence” for ideas on native prayers for this service. There are good music selections offered in “Gathering” and under National Days in “Voices United” there are some other suggestions. With a little work you can discover someone of native heritage living in your area or if there is a reserve near you, ask an elder if they know of anyone who would take part in your service. Perhaps they could bring something to show the young ones during children’s time. In addition, maybe your church could plan to attend a Pow Wow or other celebration for National Aboriginal Day (usually focused around the actual day of June 21) (Check the Government of Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs webpage for a cross country list of planned celebrations).

When the white people swarmed into North America the natives were overwhelmed. The whites didn’t understand that the Indians didn’t necessarily want to take on our life style yet they were forced to assimilate and abandon their languages and lifestyles. This was the mistake; trying to force western values and practices on them. Luckily things changed and efforts are now slowly being made to help these First Nations folk reconnect with their roots and find a way to be an equal part of North American society. Celebrating First Nations Sunday at your church with some First Nations people would, I think, be a big step in the process.

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Entry filed under: Wrestling With God.

The N-Word Sitting Bull

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